Christian City: Senior Living With a Purpose
Nestled on a five-hundred-acre campus among stately pines and pleasant walkways sits a beacon of light to many: Christian City.
Located in Union City, with the humble motto of “loving people…loving people,” Christian City reaches out to young and old and those in-between by providing safe homes to abandoned and abused children, affordable housing to seniors on limited income, professional care to those in need of assisted living, nursing, and rehabilitation, and care for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Additionally, Christian City is a well-respected community for active retirees. Seniors can live out their years in a secure neighborhood setting with opportunities to participate in fun activities, make new friends, attend worship, do their banking, socialize, and get involved through volunteer work.
Christian City is affectionately referred to as a “City within a City” because of all the conveniences it offers and the strong sense of community that the residents feel.
Recently, resident Beverly Bryant reflected on her life at Christian City, telling of a conversation she had with her 17 year old grandson. He had asked her, “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?” She’d answered, “Right where I am now at Christian City, of course!” Surprised, he asked her why. She’d replied, “Because it’s a wonderful environment, it’s safe, we have good friends who live here, and people that care for us. We have all kinds of things available to us like volunteer opportunities, exercise, the library, water aerobics classes, and activities such as game night. There is a wonderful spiritual life here with Bible classes every day of the week. There is something for everyone. Why would I want to live anywhere else? I love the place!”
Beverly, a former realtor, became acquainted with Christian City in 1992, when she and her husband David brought her mother out to Christian City to live. She found out about the Life Lease Program and filled out an application. In 2006 they moved into one of the Life Lease patio homes, where you pay a one-time fee and a small monthly fee for lawn care and maintenance Living in their patio home frees them up of yard work and gives her plenty of time for the many other activities on campus. At one time, Beverly even served on the Board of Trustees for the organization. “You don’t have to have a wonderful talent, just a willing heart. And a heart is what Christian City is all about,” she says.
When it comes to volunteering, Beverly is in good company. This past spring, Christian City honored its 200 active volunteers with a special banquet to show appreciation for their dedicated service. Honored were 40 volunteers who have served between 1,000 and 5,000 hours as well as a number of volunteers who have served between 12,000 and 22,000 hours of service. With over 60 positions to choose from, there is a place for every skill level and interest, including Graceland Thrift Store.
Located on Christian City’s campus, and run almost entirely by volunteers, Graceland Thrift Store is a busy place. Volunteers sort, organize, stock and help with the general operations. Sales and donations go toward the educational needs of the kids who live in the cottages of The Children’s Village, which are often specialized and expensive. Whether you shop, donate goods or help in the store, you’re helping kids get a quality education.
One of the best things about living at Christian City is the amenities, including an Olympic-size swimming pool where you can swim laps or take water aerobics classes, a fully equipped strengthening center, an on-site pharmacy, medical and dental clinics, an ice cream and sundry shop, a beauty shop, and a beautiful library. A variety of planned activities, field trips, arts and music programs, Bible studies and chapel services make it easy to make friends and to worship.
As a nonprofit organization that came from humble beginnings, Christian City originally started out as a home for abandoned and abused children. On Valentine’s Day of 1965, the first cottage opened on 50 acres donated by Dr. Byron and Mrs. Rose Marie Harper to eight little boys needing a safe place to call home. Over 1,500 children have lived in the cottages at The Children’s Village since then. The ministry for less fortunate children continues to be a service to the community and is another reason why seniors enjoy the Christian City life so much. Seniors get a chance to interact and support the children, and in exchange, the children are often found baking cookies or delivering small gifts or cards to the senior residents.
Over the past forty-eight years, Christian City’s campus has grown from fifty acres down a quiet country road to five hundred acres bustling with life and filled with hope for more than one thousand residents. The dreamers keep dreaming…and God keeps providing. Christian City is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization. For more information, please visit the website at www.christiancity.org or call Heidi Becker at 770-703-AMEN.
On The Cutting Edge
Georgia Tech Research Institute recently engaged Christian City to be a volunteer test bed as they develop innovative, cutting edge products for seniors. They are currently formulating new, advanced technology that will help older adults remain safe, live healthy lifestyles, manage chronic conditions, remember to take medications and remain connected with community and caregivers. Some of the products in development include robots that can retrieve items for those immobile, mirrors that can tell if a person is getting ill, dispensers that light up to remind patients to take medication, and iPads that monitor daily pain. Christian City is excited to be a part of research that supports seniors wanting to remain in their homes as they get older.